What's News


Student Aid Commission is Joined by a Diverse Coalition Calling for the Expansion of Pell Grant Eligibility to DACA Recipients

For a third consecutive year, the Commission has been joined by a diverse coalition of partners in a letter to the California Congressional delegation expressing support of President Biden’s proposal to expand the Pell Grant program to students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.

The Commission’s recent report, Renewing the Dream, highlights not just the progress that California has made in providing access to state financial aid for the larger undocumented student population, but also underscores the substantial financial aid gaps that remain. Expanding Pell Grant eligibility to DACA students is an important first step toward education equity and positively transforming the educational trajectory of undocumented students.

To read the letter issued by the Commission and partners in support of President Biden’s proposal to expand Pell Grant eligibility to DACA students, please click here: 2023 Pell for DACA Sign on Letter


Student Aid Commission Supports Proposal to Expand Pell Grant Eligibility to Students with DACA Status

As part of the proposed 2021-22 federal budget, the Biden administration proposed significant changes to the Federal Pell Grant program, including expansion of Pell Grant eligibility to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. In a letter sent to the California Congressional delegation today, the Commission is joined by a diverse coalition of over twenty leading organizations from across California in higher education, policy advocacy, and civil rights in sharing support for President Biden’s proposal to include DACA students in the Pell Grant program.   

The Commission is proud to serve all eligible California resident students regardless of their documentation status. The proposed expansion of Pell Grant eligibility is a crucial step the federal government can take that will reinforce policies that California has pioneered to establish in-state tuition rates and access to state financial aid for undocumented and DACA students. 

Please click here to read the letter issued by the Commission and partners in support of President Biden’s proposal. Pell for DACA Coalition Letter


Student Aid Congratulates New CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro

SACRAMENTO, Calif., September 23, 2020 – The California State University (CSU), the nation’s largest public university has selected Joseph I. Castro as their new chancellor. Joseph is currently the President of CSU Fresno.

“This appointment is exciting and historic news for CSU students and the state of California. President Castro is an incredible leader. He is a true advocate of access, equity, and financial aid, making him the right person for the job during this crucial time we live in,” stated Marlene Garcia, Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission.

Article Marlene Garcia | Catalina Cifuentes | Dr. Jamillah Moore

Student Aid Commission stands in solidarity with California’s students and education partners in pursuit of social justice

CONTACT: Michael Lemus 916-206-1285

SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 5, 2020 To our students, families, and colleagues,

We write to you with a heaviness in our heart as we grieve with the nation. The death of George Floyd, yet another unarmed Black male, shines a bright spotlight on the vast systemic inequities that exist within our society.

On top of the COVID-19 pandemic, this tragedy has caused deep emotional trauma for many of our students, their families and communities. In the face of this crises, now more than ever we are committed to meeting the needs of our financial aid students, especially those from the most marginalized communities.

Article By Mikhail Zinshteyn February 19, 2020Education + workforce reporter

Cal Grant Reform CA Student Aid Commission Meeting

Article BY EMA SASIC esasic@baskersfield.com May 29, 2019
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West High counselor is first-ever Kern County recipient of prestigious award

West High counselor is first-ever Kern County recipient of prestigious award | News | bakersfield.com

West High School counselor Meagan Holmes did not understand why she was kept out of an assembly Wednesday morning.

“Our new principal, Megan Gregor, was keeping me out,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

She then noticed her parents, husband and daughters and got suspicious. 

Article Greta Anderson September 6, 2019
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Fear and Confusion Among Immigrant Students

A new federal rule that will closely scrutinize immigrants’ use of public assistance programs has college students in California worried and considering withdrawing from financial aid programs.

The California Community Colleges system is trying to ease the concerns of immigrant students worried about the impact of a new immigration rule scheduled to go into effect next month.

Article California Budget & Policy CenterAugust 2019 | By Amy Rose
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Demand for Competitive Cal Grants Far Exceeds Supply

Low-income students who attend college more than one year after high school graduation and meet certain GPA requirements are eligible for Competitive Cal Grants awards. These awards help students pay for tuition and fees, as well as living expenses.

Article Enoch JemmottMarch 28, 2019Mr. Jemmott is a senior at Queens College
Enoch Jemmott, in line outside of a local IRS  office

The Implicit Punishment of Daring to Go to College When Poor

A documentary to be screened on Capitol Hill next month, in which I am featured, chronicles the experience of low-income students navigating college admissions.

When I heard that federal prosecutors were charging 50 people in six states for a college admissions bribery scheme and read the accounts that followed, outlining all of the other extensive, mostly legal, help that applicants from rich families get, it underscored how different the admissions experience was for me and my high school classmates in Canarsie.

Article By Stacy Cowley and Erica L.GreenMarch 7, 2019
Lauren Jackson holding her son both smiling leaning against wall

A College Chain Crumbles, and Millions in Student Loan Cash Disappears

When the Education Department approved a proposal by Dream Center, a Christian nonprofit with no experience in higher education, to buy a troubled chain of for-profit colleges, skeptics warned that the charity was unlikely to pull off the turnaround it promised.

What they didn’t foresee was just how quickly and catastrophically it would fail.

Barely a year after the takeover, dozens of Dream Center campuses are nearly out of money and may close as soon as Friday. More than a dozen others have been sold in the hope they can survive.

Article March 1, 2019 by Geona BarrowSacramento Observer
Akosia Robinson and daughter Sefani sitting at desk

Paying for College: Finding The Resources You Need

Akosia Robinson took her three children on tours of her alma mater, Morgan State University, hoping to spark an interest and have them follow in her footsteps and attend the historically Black university.

None of them have chosen the Baltimore campus Ms. Robinson attended, but she says she supports their dreams and goals, wherever they may take them.

“I want them to follow their passion,” the local mom shared.

Article Alex TanziFebruary 17, 2019
Profile silhouette of graduating student

U.S. Student Debt in ‘Serious Delinquency’ Tops $166 Billion

Student-loan delinquencies surged last year, hitting consecutive records of $166.3 billion in the third quarter and $166.4 billion in the fourth.

Bloomberg calculated the dollar amounts from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s quarterly household-debt report, which includes only the total owed and the percentage delinquent at least 90 days or in default.

That percentage has remained around 11 percent since mid-2012, but the total increased to a record $1.46 trillion by December 2018, and unpaid student debt also rose to the highest ever.

Article By Felicia MelloFeb. 7, 2019
A student pick up food at Mount San Antonio college food pantry

Not-so-free college: The limits of California’s Promise program

As student government president for the California Community Colleges, Iiyshaa Youngblood represents millions of people who scrape to pay for, and complete, even a two-year degree program. So you might expect the Inland Empire psychology major to be excited about a proposal to offer Californians two years of community college tuition-free.    

You’d be wrong.

“That bill helps people who can already afford college,” Youngblood, a student at Moreno Valley College, says.

Article By Lamar Alexander Feb. 7, 2019Feb. 7, 2019
Image of Graduation Cap and Money

Going to College Should Not Be a Financial Albatross

Our country has most of the best colleges in the world. Students should be able to afford them, and borrowers should not be crushed by debts.

A college graduate paying more than $1,000 per month on student loans recently wrote that he had been told “to chase down a bachelor’s degree by any means necessary.” But, he added, “no one mentions just how expensive and soul-crushing the debt will be.”

Article California Department of EducationJonathan Mendick

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Appoints Chief Counsel

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Keith Yamanaka as Chief Counsel for California Department of Education (CDE). His branch, the Legal and Audits Branch, oversees the Audits and Investigations Division and provides legal advice and representation to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, CDE, and State Board of Education.